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A Little Bit About Organic Skincare

Aug 27, 2008
Organic cosmetics - like natural - skincare products, are sourced naturally and should not contain any chemical additives or have chemicals used in their creation. Organic means the plants are grown without the help of pesticides and other chemicals, whereas natural can simply mean taken from nature; pesticides and the such may be involved. Organic skincare is much less likely to cause reactions as most people's allergies are triggered by chemicals. Of course most cosmetics have a long list of chemical and synthetic ingredients however there are generally natural alternatives to these which you can look out for if you wish to avoid all synthetics altogether and go totally organic.

Emollients are common and mostly necessary ingredients which bind together oil and water, allowing for better moisturisation. There are a great deal of synthetic emollients out on the market, PEG- 45 Almond glyceride, synthetic alcohols (products that end with butyl, cetearyl, cetyl, glyceryl, isopropyl, myristyl), petroleum, paraffin, dimethicone, and cyclomethicone. Organic emollients are available that work just as well; oils from plants such as jojoba, avocado, and rosehip, and butters jojoba, shea, and cocoa.

Volumising products - predominantly shampoos, add volume by binding the hair with agents to make it thicker and fuller. Because this process adds more elements to the hair it seems important for these to be natural ones such as almond protein, herbal gums, and soy protein.

Detergents work like soap by separating out oils and removing dirt. Most are synthetic although there are some plant-based detergents.

Humecants lock moisture into the skin. Collagen, elastin, and keratin are well known examples - just check out any anti-aging ad - it is assumed that they are natural, but most are derived from animals; definitely a no go for vegans and vegetarians. A few of these synthetic materials can cause some allergies and dermatitis. Natural alternatives are lecithin, panthenol (pro-vitamin B5), and glycerin.

Hydrators supply water to the skin and hair. There are quite a few organic hydrators in use as liquids derived from plants e.g. Aloe Vera, vegetable glycerin, and orange pith juice, actually make the best agents for hydration.

Organic Saponins or glycosides such as Yucca and Soapwort are found naturally; when mixed with water they foam up so are used for products such as shampoos and shaving foams to make them lather. They can also act as an emulsifying agent or cleanser.

Surfactants dissolve oil and dirt so that they can be easily cleansed away and they mostly occur in facial cleansers and shampoos. Instead of synthetics look out for Castile soap, yucca extract, soapwort, quillaja bark extract.

Citric acid and corn syrup are examples of organic sequestrants; these are unique ingredients, in that they bind to metal ions like iron, as well as non-metal ions like salt and can remove them from hard water. Hard water can leave skin dry, discolour hair and make soap residue stick to the skin, further drying it out. Once the extra ions are removed from hard water it can lather more easily and be rinsed off more efficiently.

Just as food eventually perishes, so do skin care products, dependent on temperature change, light, and other factors, the product will eventually dry up or simply not be effective any more. Although synthetic preservatives will probably make products last longer than natural alternatives, you can stick with natural ingredients such as tea tree essential oil, thyme essential oil, grapefruit seed extract, and D-alpha tocopherol acetate (vitamin E), and then popping the product into the fridge will increase its shelf life.

It is important to be aware of alternative organic ingredients so that if you wish you can always ensure your skin care products are totally free from synthetics, Scin Boutique sells ranges which contain the highest possible percentage of organic ingredients and displays the ingredients list for each product - it's good to always know what's going on your skin!
About the Author
Hannah Walker is a writer for Scinboutique
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